Climate change and opportunistic pathogens (OPs) in the built environment
Juliette O'Keeffe, PhD
Water distribution lines, premise plumbing in homes and large buildings, and recreational waters (pools, spas, splash-parks), can harbour a range of opportunistic pathogens (OPs), like Legionella spp. that can cause serious infections and disease outbreaks among exposed, susceptible persons. Many interacting elements can affect the presence, proliferation, and likelihood of exposure to OPs in water systems, including climate warming, precipitation, humidity, increased air conditioning and need for cooling, and water efficiency measures. This presentation explores some of the ways that climate change could influence the occurrence of and exposure to OPs in our urban centres, and some of the measures that can be taken to reduce the risks.
Juliette O'Keeffe, MSc, PhD
Environmental Health & Knowledge Translation Scientist, NCCEH
Juliette joined the NCCEH team in 2018 bringing with her previous experience delivering research for industry and government in the areas of rural drinking water, wastewater treatment, waste management and resource efficiency at the Urban Water Technology Centre in Dundee, Scotland. Prior to this she worked with Dundee’s Public Analyst and the Scottish EPA. She holds a BSc Honours degree in Environmental Biology (SFU), an MSc in Energy and Environmental Management and a PhD in Environmental Science (University of Abertay) focussed on assessment of organic pollutant transfer from by-products of wastewater treatment processes. Her work at the NCCEH is currently focused on emerging issues related to drinking water, coastal waters, and climate change.
Read the accompanying paper here: Climate change and opportunistic pathogens (OPs) in the built environment (O’Keeffe, 2022)